Inside: Coming up with fresh and fun dating ideas while sticking to a budget can be tough! Here’s a list of 52 great inexpensive ideas. We’re talking under $50 per date (some even including childcare!).
Recently, Erik and I decided to take on the challenge of a Dave Ramsey style budget make-over to help recalibrate our spending habits and set us up for a strong and secure financial future.
Live like no one else so you can live like no one else.-Dave Ramsey
Up until this point, we’ve been living pretty comfortably and doing whatever we wanted in regards to date nights, trips…whatever. As one of the steps to leaving my job and becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom, we worked to build up a nice cushy savings. Unfortunately, that savings (unintentionally) worked as a buffer from what we should have been spending each month, to what we were actually spending. It kept us blissfully unaware of the fact that we had just cut our disposable income in half and needed to live a different kind of life.
Like the slow-drip from an IV… our savings slowly trickled into our checking account… putting us in that uncomfortable position we’d been dreading.
That free-for-all we had going on? Well, that came to a screeching halt once we realized just how far above our actual means we had been spending. Eek! It was time to move the rest of that money somewhere—safer— and commit ourselves to a real (gulp) budget.
This was a tough pill for free spirits like us to swallow.
But, we got serious and got on track. In the early months, date nights were a luxury we figured we’d need to do without. With date nights costing $100 for a modest meal and the cost of a sitter, it seemed like an obvious choice to cut from our spending.
After a few months, we found ourselves burnt out, frustrated and in need of some quality time–just the two of us. We were seeking a bit more balance and knew just how important it was to stay connected through quality time as a couple.
There had to be a way for us to date again while making it work with our monthly spending plan. Once I made it a point to seek out quality dates that didn’t cost a fortune, I was so impressed to see how many great options we really had. Many of them are even a throwback to the early days in our relationship.
So far, I’ve come up with
50 52 date ideas that cost $50 or less…and the list keeps growing
The best part? Husbands love this list too!
If you’re lucky enough to built-in childcare with awesome friends and family, you’re one step ahead in the savings department! If not, I’ve got you covered there too. Believe it or not, many dates on this list can be done for $50 including childcare!
Related post: Quality Childcare on the Cheap
Dates for Under $50
1. A date-night subscription box
We’ve tried out
2. Cook dinner together
Make it another gift to you, from you by splurging on a Hello Fresh box. One order will actually get you three meal option for $59. No meal planning or grocery shopping required! You simply open the bag with your meal ingredients, grab the directions and GO. Pair it with your favorite bottle of wine and cozy up on the couch to catch an episode or two of your favorite show! New to HelloFresh? Get $20 off your first box by clicking here.
No babysitter needed here. Tuck your sweet kiddos into bed, grab something delicious to drink, a cozy blanket, and your honey and head to the backyard and get lost in the wonder of the universe together.
4. Play a board game
Board games are so
5. Do a small home improvement project
I said small because it should be easy and fun! One night, after moving into our new house, Erik and I dove into changing lighting. And not just any lighting…but an intricate crystal chandelier with a million pieces for Emerson’s room. That, my friends, I do not recommend! Choose something simpler. Paint a room, hang a few pictures or plant some flowers.
6. Watch an old, favorite movie.
The night is more about being together and connecting when you choose an old favorite to watch.
7. Stroll through the park
One of those great options that can be done while the children are at the recreation center childcare. Check with your facility about their particular rules.
8. Create a vision board
What are your family goals for the next 1, 3 or even 5 years? Have fun talking about your hopes and dreams and find pictures to inspire you and keep the dream alive! Then set an action plan of how to turn your vision into a reality together.
9. Teach each other something new and fun.
Erik was an amazing baseball player in college, and you know what’s crazy? We’ve never just thrown a baseball around together. Granted, my subpar athletic skills will probably drive him crazy. BUT, it would be so fun to learn a thing or two from him about the sport that meant so much to him for so long. Get curious. What would you like for your spouse to teach you more about?
10. Create a photo collage.
Grab an inexpensive
11. Give each other a massage.
This is something so simple that oftentimes goes by the wayside. Human touch is so important…and it’s a great way for us to get to know our spouse, and their needs on a more physical, and personal level.
12. Have a spa night
Not too far off from #11, but you can have some fun with this! Guys secretly love the thought of being pampered. Indulge in a detoxifying face mask and an essential oil &
13. Create decadent dessert.
Go ahead! Make the brownie. Then top it with ice cream, hot fudge
14. Plan your next vacation.
When was the last time you sat down with together to dream up your next
15. Watch your favorite TV show together.
No explanation needed here! Simple and fun.
16. Roast marshmallows over a fire pit in your backyard.
When was the last time you did this? It takes things back to that simpler time of dating, and just being present
Brunch—and mimosas—are always a good idea.
18. Church or synagogue
If your church offers childcare, there you go! Instant date! Sitting next to each other hearing God’s word for an uninterrupted hour has a way of making us feel stronger and closer as a couple…and more grounded as individuals.
19. Hit the gym
Have your husband spot you while you lift some weights—or work out side by side in your gym’s cardio theatre! Do your own thing and just meet at the water fountain to flirt a little.
20. Take a Yoga class
Admittedly, this isn’t one I’ve gotten Erik to do with me quite yet…but I’m wearing him down slowly! I see plenty of cute couples at my yoga
Who doesn’t love to bowl? Especially now that the smoke-filled bowling alleys are a thing of the past…Grab something great to drink and make it interesting by putting some stakes on it! Whoever wins gets to sleep in that weekend while the other fields the 6 a.m. wake-up calls from the kids.
22. Historic tour of
I’m always amazed by how many nearby towns offer
23. Have a picnic
Get fancy with a cheese and cracker tray and bottle of vino or sparkling water or throw some PB & J’s, potato chips and cans of soda into a lunch box! It’s all about that special one-on-one time you’re getting together here. One of our local YMCA’s offers childcare while visiting a local park, making this easy to do with a little planning on the front end.
24. Volunteer at a local animal shelter
There is something so incredibly special about giving love and affection to animals who really, really need it. You and your hubby will bond over your adorable, furry new friends—and just thinking about it will bring a smile to your face for weeks after the event.
25. Grab a coffee and go to a playground
If you want to go retro, like all the way back to your first few dates with each other, this should do it. Take it to the next level with a list of get-to-know
26. Play a game of HORSE
This is another date on the cheap that can be done at your local YMCA or recreation center, while your kids are having a ton of fun at the childcare center. Just like bowling, make it interesting!
27. Go for a bike ride at a local park
Again, take it way back to the simple and fun first few date ideas! This may be something you haven’t even done since then! Incorporate a picnic while you’re at it.
28. Walk around a college campus
Any date that involves a leisurely stroll, good cup of coffee and opportunity for some quality convo and I’m a fan. This checks all three of those boxes.
29. Go to the beach or a pool together
How relaxing does this sound? Build a
30. Grab a drink and appetizer at a hip, new restaurant
Meals can add up quickly, but a great drink and an appetizer should make you feel like you splurged, and set you back very little. Get dressed up, and go to the coolest new place in town.
31. Hit up Groupon
Groupon offers the ability to get a lot for a little while introducing you to places you had never thought to visit before. You can usually find Groupon on Rakuten(formerly Ebates) as well, getting you additional cashback on your purchase (I’ve seen it as high as 10%)! If you’re not on Ebates yet, you’re missing out! You can read more about what it has to offer in my post, Fun Ways to Save Money on Everyday Purchases, Without Really Trying. Then, click here to get $10 in Groupon Bucks.
32. Visit a botanical garden
Our local botanical garden has so much to offer. Be sure to pack a picnic to take with you as well!
33. Go to the zoo
Yes, this is a ton of fun to do with kids! But, imagine being able to watch your very favorite animals for as long as you darn well please…without having to keep a constant eye on each kid to make sure none of them took the other up on the dare to climb into the penguin cage.
34. Pick fresh, seasonal fruit
Whether it’s apples or pumpkins in the fall, or berries in the spring. Take your fresh-picked produce home and make a delicious seasonal treat for the whole family.
35. Pick out cards for each other at the Hallmark store
Cards tend to perfectly say what we are feeling but find hard to put into words. After your walk or picnic in the park, stop by a local store and pick out cards for each other. Exchange them, read them, and then put them back! Trust me…you’ll have fun and the warm fuzzies will last long after you walk out of that card shop empty-handed.
36. Minor league baseball or hockey game
37. Concert in the park
A classic summertime date night. Take a blanket and some delicious snacks, and you’re all set!
38. Go canoeing
It’s relaxing and offers up an element of teamwork.
39. Peruse a local farmer’s market together
Just like the zoo, this can be done with kids—but is so much more relaxing, even romantic, without them. If you can find some good childcare on a Saturday or Sunday morning, give this one a shot.
40. Miniature golf
Or putt-putt as the mid-westerner in me wants to say, is a light and fun activity that can be done on the cheap.
41. See a movie
You can opt for a matinee to save some cash or check out Groupon or your Entertainment book. Oftentimes, they’ll have specials on cinema cafes and other deals.
42. Paint pottery
Depending on what you decide to paint, this one can get a little pricy. Check out Groupon, Yelp or your Entertainment book for discounts. I’ve also found that if you go right after a major holiday, you can paint items for up to 75% off (and tuck the finished product away to enjoy for years to come).
43. Go ice skating or to a Roller Rink
Another seasonal favorite! Go ice skating and grab hot cocoa to warm up together afterward.
44. Go to a local high school football game
The brisk air, bright lights and sense of school spirit are magical. The thought of a high school football game is enough to give me butterflies all over again.
45. Go to a drive-in movie
If these still exist by you, DO it! Drive-in movies offer such a nostalgic sense of fun. And since the movies don’t start until after dark in the summer, you could totally take your kids—they’ll fall asleep in the back seat before the movie starts, and your “date” can begin!
46. Have a scavenger hunt
Just Google this and you’ll get a ton of PDFs you can print out with different scavenger hunt ideas.
47. Hit golf balls at a driving range
If you have clubs, this is a great low budget thing to do on a nice Fall or Spring day!
48. Go to a sports bar and root for your favorite team
So simple, yet when was the last time you actually got to do this?
49. Visit a museum
Bonus points if you attend a seminar together! When I was growing up, our local art museum had some fantastic seminars once a month, on a Friday night.
50. Walk around the mall
When was the last time you and your husband went to the mall JUST to enjoy it? Window shopping can be so much fun! We usually end up shopping for the kids, because we can’t help ourselves. But we have such a great time doing it.
51. Watch the sunrise or sunset
Get up early and experience the magic of the new day by watching the sunrise together. In a place where it’s better for watching the sunset? That works too!
52. Take a trip to IKEA
I totally stole all of my thunder for this one in the childcare section. But just to recap—dinner, a date
Who said coming up with inexpensive and fun date ideas could be a challenge? Not you! Be sure to snag the free printable list to tuck into your planner. Enter your info below to have it sent straight to your inbox, along with periodic updates and exclusive info not included on the blog!